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102.9 The Buzz to become Preds flagship station in 2010-11… (Updated)

In a last minute (and late night) development, section303.com has learned that the Nashville Predators and their long-time flagship station 104.5 The Zone will be parting ways in the coming days.

A source has told section303.com that the rock formatted station WBUZ 102.9 The Buzz will become the new flagship station for the team.

The deal between the Predators and WBUZ is a multi-year deal.

It’s no secret that hockey fans in Middle Tennessee have been constantly frustrated with trying to find Predators games if 104.5 The Zone isn’t carrying them due to other broadcast commitments. Last season, Nashville was bounced from its own flagship station over 20 times, leaving fans searching on their radio dials.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the writing was on the wall that things might get worse this season.

The Zone carried Vanderbilt athletics until this summer when Vandy surprisingly brought their product elsewhere without informing the station. WGFX then countered by signing a deal to broadcast University of Tennessee Volunteers athletics. Then, at around the same time, the Citadel family of networks announced that the Tennessee Titans would be coming off of sister station WKDF and being put on 104.5 The Zone, making Predators hockey a distant third in priority.

The Predators hockey club wanted to find a radio station that fans could count on game-in and game-out. 102.9 The Buzz apparently stepped up to the plate.

WBUZ is owned and operated by the Cromwell Radio Group, headquartered in Nashville. Just one more example of a local business group stepping up and taking ownership in the Predators. By contrast, the Citadel Broadcasting Group is located in Las Vegas, Nevada and recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Now the question becomes what will become of the post game show as we now know it? Willy Daunic has done an admirable job hosting the live show but his broadcasting associations lie with 104.5 The Zone. 102.9 The Buzz, being a completely different family of networks, wouldn’t be able to employ his services so there will be changes. Some would suggest Nashville’s radio play-by-play man Tom Callahan host the recap show, but given his duties closing out the broadcasts, there will need to be a co-host to get the party started.

It’ll be very interesting to see who 102.9 The Buzz chooses.

Update: Officially announced today by WBUZ and the Nashville Predators.  Note the last lines of today’s release, as WGFX and the Preds are still friends after all, leaving the door open for Willy to do the Post-Game.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS AND CROMWELL GROUP ANNOUNCE NEW RADIO PARTNERSHIP

-WBUZ 102.9 FM (The Buzz) becomes new radio flagship station-

Nashville, Tenn. (September 22, 2010) – Nashville Predators and the Cromwell Group,

Inc. announced today that WBUZ 102.9 FM (The Buzz) has signed a multi-year deal to serve as the flagship station of the team’s radio network beginning with the 2010–11 season, insuring that all games will be broadcast on the same station.

Cromwell Group, Inc affiliate WYCQ, Inc owns 102.9 WBUZ (BUZZ) and also operates WPRT 102.5 (The Party) and WQZQ 102.1 (The Light). WBUZ will carry select preseason, all regular season and all postseason Predators games each year. This marks the first time since the 2003–04 season that all Predators regular season and playoff contests will be aired on the same station. These games will include a 30-minute pregame show as well as an hour-long postgame show. All postgame shows following home games will originate from Bridgestone Arena’s Patrón Platinum Club and will be open to all ticketed fans in attendance. Tom Callahan returns as the Predators radio-specific play-by-play announcer and will call the action for the club’s 60 radio-only regular season games. Callahan will join the longtime team of Pete Weber and Terry Crisp for the other 22 contests.

“We are very excited to announce The Buzz as our new radio flagship partner,” Nashville Predators Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer Chris Parker said. “WBUZ is Nashville owned and operated, boasts a 100,000-watt broadcast signal and is a top-ranked station in Middle Tennessee with tremendous demographics. Add to this their promotional ability and the fact that our fans can preset 102.9 FM for every game, and this is a fantastic partnership that will benefit our fans.”

“We’ve seen the excitement that the Predators generate for the Nashville community, and as a local business we are proud to be a part of that,” Cromwell Group President Bud Walters said.

“The Predators bring a hard-hitting, action-packed feel to everything they do and that is exactly what the Buzz Nation has come to expect from our station,” BUZZ General Manager Tincy Crouse said. “We know our listeners are Predators fans, and because of this we are excited to be a part of Smashville.”

WBUZ’s first Nashville Predators broadcast will be the preseason game at Bridgestone Arena on Monday September 27 vs. the Atlanta Thrashers. A complete radio broadcast schedule can be found online at nashvillepredators.com or 1029thebuzz.com.

The Predators also announced that a strong partnership remains with sports station 104.5 FM (The Zone).

“We look forward to continuing joint efforts to provide mutually beneficial programming and promotions throughout the season,” Parker said.  “Many ZONE on-air hosts – including George Plaster, Willy Daunic, and Mark Howard – are fans and friends of the Predators, and as such we will continue the strong relationship we have grown over the years.”

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